[artist id="2476941"]Adele[/artist] is sitting 29 floors above Times Square, eyes tilted toward the ceiling as a makeup artist dabs away, lamenting her early morning (she performed Friday, February 18, on the "Today" show) and laughing that her handlers are trying to kill her.
"I'm not allowed any caffeine, because it dehydrates the throat, and I had laryngitis about a month and a half ago, so I've had to cut all these things out to make sure it doesn't happen again," she smiles, turning her head toward her publicist. "So I had to get up at 10 to 4, go over to the ['Today'] studio, and while everyone else was drinking their delicious black coffee, everyone was doing Starbucks runs, and I was asking for hot water. It was so boring."
And it's a bit of a shame that Adele, now 22 and two years removed from her [article id="1604571"]upset wins at the 51st Grammy Awards[/article], is being denied coffee, because she certainly needs it. On Tuesday, she'll release her sophomore album, the jaw-dropping 21 (so named because it reflected her very tumultuous 21st year on earth) here in the States. Thanks to a tidal wave of critical acclaim -- and stirring singles like "Rolling in the Deep" -- she has already been tipped as the year's can't-miss act. She recently filmed an episode of VH1's "Unplugged," and in May, she'll launch a full-blown tour of the U.S.
But for right now, she's enjoying the moment (even without caffeine), delighting in the reviews she's gotten here in the U.S. ("In the States, even a bad review is like a five-star U.K. review," she laughs) and trying very hard not to believe the hype -- which, if you know anything about her, is a lot easier than you might think.
"I think people think I'm, like, sort of a manic-depressive. I think they think I'm very somber and very moody and take myself very seriously, but I think that's just because [of] the kind of records I write," she says. "But also, like, everyone is a bit moody and somber sometimes, just that I write about mine, so therefore it's magnified. I'm no more depressed than any other 21-, 22 year-old-girl when someone leaves them, you know?"
And it should be noted that she has absolutely no problem discussing that depression, which came at the end of a relationship with a man "who meant everything to her" and influenced just about every aspect of 21, from kiss-offs like "Deep" and "Rumour Has It" to heartbreaking album-closer "Someone Like You."
"Well, I wrote that song because I was exhausted from being such a bitch, with 'Rolling in the Deep' or 'Rumor Has It,' " she laughs. "I was really emotionally drained from the way I was portraying him, because even though I'm very bitter and regret some parts of it, he's still the most important person that's ever been in my life, and 'Someone Like You,' I had to write it to feel OK with myself and OK with the two years I spent with him. And when I did it, I felt so freed."
Empowered by that freedom, she was able to return to her (relatively) normal life, one that, despite the accolades and the chart-topping success back home in the U.K. (and most of Europe), she says isn't all that different from any other 22-year-old's existence, despite what you might have gathered from her music.
"Whenever I meet anyone, whether it's someone I'm working with or a fan or something, they can never link me with the person they think I am," she says. "But I like that. I'm 22, I'm sarcastic, very boisterous and cheeky. I like to have a bit of a joke."
Are you looking forward to Adele's new album? Let us know in the comments!